Utility of the short form (SF)-36 health related quality of life questionnaire as a measure of outcome among contraceptive users
Background: Health related quality of life tools have been utilized in assessing many medical conditions; however, there has been minimal use in reproductive health research locally.
Objectives: To evaluate the utility of the short form (SF)-36 health survey questionnaires among contraceptive users.
Methodology: This was a cross sectional study which formed part a longitudinal observation study conducted over a 6-month period at the Aga Khan University Hospital and the Family Health Options clinics in Nairobi, Kenya among users of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate for contraception. The main outcome measures were the eight scales within the SF 36 health profile. Kline’s criterion of 0.4 was used to test for inter scale correlations while the internal consistency was measured by the Cronbach’s alpha using the Nunnally’s criterion of 0.7.
Results: The SF-36 questionnaire was administered to 107 consenting clients. The mean scores for the eight scale SF-36 questionnaire were: physical functioning 81.4 (SD 22.4), social functioning 77.3 (SD 19.4), role limitation attributed to physical problem 81.6 (SD 31.6), role functioning attributed to emotional problems 76.3 (SD 35.5), energy and fatigue 66.9 (SD 16.4), mental health 71.4 (SD 17.5), general health 74.1 (SD 14.5) and pain 79.7 (SD 22.1). The SF-36 questionnaire satisfied rigorous psychometric criteria for reliability and internal consistency for 6 of the 8 scales. The item scale correlation persistently exceeded 0.4 for all variables.
Conclusion: These results provide support for use of SF-36 and other medical outcome survey tools as potential measures of quality of life among contraceptive users in the local population.
Keywords: Health related quality of life, contraceptives, depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate, RAND SF-36
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